- GT Racing Only. Porsche Factory and Customer Teams Turn IMSA Focus to Lime Rock.
- Electrifying The Big Apple. Porsche Taycan Makes Appearance at Formula E Finale.
- Wright Back to IMSA. Porsche 911 GT3 R Customer Teams Returns to GTD Class.
- Electric Driver. Lotterer Named Second Driver in Porsche Formula E Team.
Event Story Lines.
GT Racing Only. Porsche Factory and Customer Teams Turn IMSA Focus to Lime Rock.
Five Porsche race cars will compete in the all-GT car race weekend at Lime Rock Park, one of the oldest continuously running road courses in the country. The July 19 – 20 Northeast Grand Prix on the 1.5-mile “bullring” in Lakeville, Connecticut is among the most exhilarating events on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule. After scoring five-straight wins in the series’ GTLM class, the Porsche GT Team now wants to build on this record and its championship lead at the two-hour, 40-minute race. With the two prototype classes absent from the Lime Rock event, the main focal point will be on the GTLM class including the two ca. 510 hp Porsche 911 RSR fielded by the Porsche GT Team “works” effort. In the GTD category, the customer squads of Pfaff Motorsports, Park Place Motorsports and the newly announced Wright Motorsports entry aspire to claim a podium spot each with their Porsche 911 GT3 R racing cars.
The winners of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and Six Hours Of The Glen at Watkins Glen, Patrick Pilet (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain), share the No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR. The pair currently ranks in second-place in the Drivers’ Championship entering the sixth round of the GTLM season. Their works driver colleagues in the No. 912 sister car, Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium), lead the class after their victories at Long Beach, Mid-Ohio and most recently at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP).
In the GTD class, three 500+hp Porsche 911 GT3 R will compete in that categories sixth race. The customer team Pfaff Motorsports makes an alteration to its drivers’ lineup for the next two race weekends with Porsche Young Professional Dennis Olsen (Norway) joining 2018 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Challenge Canada Champion Zacharie Robichon (Canada) in the No. 9 in Connecticut event. Porsche works driver Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California) is a three-time winner at Lime Rock Park and leads all drivers for IMSA pole positions with three since 2000. North America’s lone Porsche factory driver shares the cockpit of the No. 73 racer run by Park Place Motorsports with Germany’s Marco Seefried this weekend as the duo looks to close in the Michelin Sprint Cup championship. The No. 91 Henry Repeating Arms Porsche 911 GT3 R makes its series’ debut this weekend campaigned by veteran Porsche entrant Wright Motorsports and driven by Porsche Young Professional Matt Campbell (Australia) and Anthony Imperato (New York City, New York).
The seven-turn circuit has been a successful venue for Porsche in the past. The German brand leads all IMSA manufacturers with 19 victories at the track since 2000. The most recent wins came with a pair of GTLM and GTD titles in 2017. Pilet and Dirk Werner (Germany) piloted the No. 911 Porsche “works” car to the top-step of the GTLM class podium just ahead of Vanthoor and Gianmaria Bruni (Italy) in the team car that year while, in the Pro-Am style GTD class, Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) joined Patrick Lindsey (Santa Barbara, California) in the No. 73 for a Porsche sweep of the race.
Porsche currently holds a 24-point lead in the GTLM class Manufacturer standings.
Pascal Zurlinden, Director GT Factory Motorsport.
“We are determined to continue our sensational winning streak at Lime Rock. At this race on the small circuit in Connecticut, it would be particularly important to finish in first place – because it’s one of the very few chances in the IMSA series to celebrate overall victory. After our five-straight wins, we’re certainly not about to lean back. We’re leading the championship, and it should remain like this to the end of the season.”
Steffen Höllwarth, Program Manager IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
“There is no time for drivers, strategists and the crew to catch their breath on this extremely short circuit. Another feature of the Lime Rock course is that there is only one left-hander. This has an impact on the cars’ setup and tire wear. We’ve always performed well there in past years. I expect we’ll have good chances of continuing our great run over these intense weeks in North America.”
Patrick Pilet, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“I really enjoy racing at Lime Rock; there’s always plenty of action on the short circuit. The course suits our Porsche 911 RSR with its relatively short wheelbase. We’ll definitely be competitive there. For me personally, I’d like to reclaim the lead of the drivers’ championship with my teammate Nick. The duel against our works colleagues in the 912 car has been great fun.”
Nick Tandy, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“This is the first race of the season where only GT vehicles compete. Most of all, this changes the traffic situation on the short track, because you don’t constantly get prototypes looming in your rear-view mirror. Overtaking on this flowing, twisty racetrack is very difficult. You have to keep a cool head and have lots of patience. It’s often very warm at Lime Rock at this time of the year. The many laps during a stint, the heavy traffic and the quirks of the track make this race physically exhausting.”
Earl Bamber, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“We’re heading to Lime Rock with five Porsche wins in a row. Our goal is to continue this winning streak. I really like Lime Rock Park, mainly because the fast times of around 50-seconds per lap make for spectacular racing. We’ve always been strong there with our Porsche 911 RSR, and that’s not about to change this year.”
Laurens Vanthoor, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“At Lime Rock, we’re finally in the limelight with our GT cars. Even though the prototypes don’t contest round seven of the season, there will be plenty of action on the track. The course is really narrow and very fast. That means we’ll encounter a lot of traffic out there over the entire distance. Still, this makes it gripping and spectacular but at the same time tricky. Porsche has always performed strongly at Lime Rock. After our recent five successive wins, we’re feeling very optimistic but also totally focused. Our great run can only continue if we make the absolute best out of the possibilities once again in the upcoming race. We want to stay at the lead.”
Patrick Long, Driver, No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“Lime Rock Park has a very special atmosphere every year. The short course has a lot of tradition and is always good for exciting and action-packed motor racing. Last year at Lime Rock we were on pole position. Unfortunately, the race didn’t turn out quite so well for us at that time. That should be different this year.”
Matt Campbell, Driver, No. 91 Henry Repeating Arms/Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“This year I’m contesting numerous Blancpain GT World Challenge America races with Anthony Imperato and Wright Motorsports. I know my teammate and the squad well, and our teamwork is fantastic. I’m very much looking forward to our first IMSA race together. I’ve heard a lot about the Lime Rock racetrack. I can hardly wait to go racing there.”
Electrifying The Big Apple. Porsche Taycan Makes Appearance at Formula E Finale.
As part of the season-finale of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship in New York City, the Porsche Taycan displayed its capabilities by completing several fast laps on the race circuit. Porsche will enter the 2019/2020 all-electric open wheel racing series with the beginning of the new season in November.
The fast laps in New York represent the grand finale of the Porsche Triple Demo Run.A Taycan prototype has made three appearances on three continents in the space of three weeks, visiting China, Great Britain and the United States – each important sales markets for the first all-electric sports car from Porsche. The livery on the roof of the production car prototype paid tribute to each of the guest countries: in New York, the prototype featured a stars-and-stripes design.
The Chinese race driver Li Chao, who competes in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia,drove the Taycan on the challenging handling track at the Porsche Experience Center (PEC) in Shanghai. The former Formula 1 driver and current Porsche brand ambassador Mark Webber drove it up the hill at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in Great Britain. Neel Jani, the only Porsche “works” driver named to the Formula E program as of yet, drove the Taycan in New York City.
The Vehicle: The Porsche Taycan
The Taycan will be presented in September and go on the market at the end of the year. Across the globe, there are already more than 20,000 serious prospective buyers for the four-door vehicle. The potential customers have put their names down on an option program list and made a down payment.
Alongside the dynamic performance of the Taycan, a comprehensive charging infrastructure is key to the long-term success of electromobility. Porsche offers intelligent charging solutions for both the home and when on the road. The Porsche Charging System digital platform enables Europe-wide access to around 70,000 charging points from various providers and central billing via Porsche. In addition, both own fast charging stations and those installed in cooperation with charging networks such as Ionity in Europe or Electrify America in the USA are available.
The Driver: Neel Jani
Swiss-born Neel Jani (35) has been a Porsche works driver since 2013 and is the first confirmed driver who will compete for Porsche in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship in November 2019. Behind the wheel of the Porsche 919 Hybrid, he was the overall winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA World Endurance Champion (WEC) in 2016. From 2014 until the end of the 2017 season, Jani achieved four wins, nine pole positions and four fastest race laps with the 919. In 2018, he set a lap record with the 919 Hybrid Evo at Spa-Francorchamps, beating the previous Formula 1 track record. Jani started his career in formula racing and progressed to become a Formula 1 test driver.
The Track: New York City
The grand finale of the fifth Formula E season took place in New York City against the Manhattan skyline and with the Statue of Liberty in the background. The drivers mastered a technically demanding circuit in Red Hook, the port of Brooklyn.
The Race Series: ABB FIA Formula E Championship
With the countdown to the Porsche debut in the all-electric race series underway, the first steps have already been successfully completed. The Porsche drivetrain has been tested on the test rig, has been through construction of the Porsche Formula E vehicle and rolled-out on the test track in Weissach, Germany. The first Porsche electric formula car has turned more than 1,000 test kilometers (620 miles) on the Circuit Calafat in Spain.
The Porsche Formula E team will compete in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship for the first time in Season 6 (2019/2020). Jani was signed as the first driver. The special features of the race series include specially designed street circuits at the heart of different cities, the omission of classic pit stops and the opportunity for fans to award their favorite drivers with an extra boost of power, and therefore an advantage in crucial situations that decide the race, by voting online.
Neel Jani, Driver, Porsche Formula E Team.
“In Formula E, recuperation plays an important part in the race strategy. In a production car, intelligent energy recovery can make it possible to achieve significant benefits in terms of range. I was surprised by the long range of the new Taycan even when driven spiritedly round a race track. That is due to its performance-oriented battery and the sophisticated energy management system.
Like our Formula E car, the Taycan has a Porsche drivetrain that is designed for performance and reliability. No matter whether it is a racing car or a series-production model, it is extremely important to drive many miles in the test phase and to gain experience with the vehicle.”
Wright Back to IMSA. Porsche 911 GT3 R Customer Teams Returns to GTD Class.
Wright Motorsports has confirmed a return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on a partial season basis. The group will rejoin GTD class competition with the No. 91 Henry Repeating Arms Porsche 911 GT3 R for Anthony Imperato (Brooklyn, New York). Imperato will be joined by Porsche Young Professionals, Matt Campbell (Australia) at Lime Rock Park and Dennis Olsen (Norway) at Road America.
The last time the John Wright-led team took part in GTD competition was in 2018, when they contested the full championship with Porsche factory driver Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California) and Christina Nielsen (Denmark). Last year, the entry saw a class victory at Road America, as well as the pole position at Lime Rock Park.
This marks Imperato’s return to IMSA after a three-year run (2016 – 2018) with the Ohio-based team in IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge competition. Though new to endurance racing, the New York-native has spent the last two years getting to know the Porsche 911 GT3 R, driving his Wright Motorsports-prepared GT3 car to the podium in SRO America.
Both Campbell and Olsen made their IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship debuts this year driving GTD-class in the Rolex 24 with Porsche customer teams. The Porsche Young Professional drivers, who won this year's Bathurst 12 Hour together, have found success splitting driving duties with Imperato in this year's SRO America championship.
The group’s first order of business will be July 19 – 20 at Lime Rock Park. The 2-hour, 40-minute North East Grand Prix will feature a GT-only field.
John Wright, Principal, Wright Motorsports.
“All of us at Wright Motorsports are very pleased to see Anthony join the WeatherTech Championship for a few events. Since he joined us for IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA in 2016, he’s worked very hard to get to this point and we’re excited to see him in this environment. I’m also looking forward to continuing to work with Matt and Dennis, who we’ve already had great success with in SRO America competition. As a team, we’ve always been strong at both Lime Rock and Road America, so we’re eager to get started.”
Anthony Imperato, Driver, No. 91 Henry Rifles Porsche 911 GT3 R.
"I’m really looking forward to running a few IMSA Weather Tech Championship races this season. Running in SRO America has prepared us for things like driver changes and pit stops. The biggest difference is going to be dealing with multi-class traffic. It will be a great learning experience and great to have the consistency of driving with Matt and Dennis for these races. I feel confident we will have some good results."
Matt Campbell, Driver, No. 91 Henry Rifles Porsche 911 GT3 R.
"I’m very excited to extend my season with Anthony and Wright Motorsports. It will be a bit of a different setting in IMSA, but I’m really looking forward to joining Anthony for some longer races and hope to do a few more of them this year. I can’t wait to get back to America, especially for my first visit to Lime Rock Park. It’s such a special little track and Porsche has had some great success there in the past, so we’ll look to do the same. Lots of exciting times coming up and I can’t wait to get back to it.”
Dennis Olsen, Driver, No. 91 Henry Rifles Porsche 911 GT3 R.
"I’m looking forward to the challenge with Anthony. IMSA will be a step up in the game for him in terms of competition and I’m excited to be a part of it. It should be a great experience for Anthony and I know the Wright Motorsports team will put us in a position to be more than capable of competing for some strong results. Road America is a new track for me, so it will take a bit of learning myself, but I’m very excited to get things started.”
Electric Driver. Lotterer Named Second Driver in Porsche Formula E Team.
André Lotterer has been signed to the second Porsche Formula E seat, finalizing the driver pairing for the German manufacturer’s inaugural season in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship. Lotterer (Germany) joins Neel Jani (Switzerland) as the regular drivers for the Porsche “works” team’s in Formula E. The 2019/2020 formula car season marks the first time Porsche has raced in an open wheel formula since 1990 when it competed in the North American Indy car series.
Lotterer has been a factory driver since 2017 piloting the Porsche 919 Hybrid in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) LMP1 class. He has also been active in the electric race series since the 2017/2018 season. The German brought home two podiums for the Techeetah team in his maiden Formula E season and finished in eight-place in the overall standings that year. In the 2018/2019 season, he claimed another two podiums for DS Techeetah Formula E Team and rounded off the season in New York last weekend again finishing in eight-place in the driver’s standings.
Lotterer began his motorsport career in karting at a young age. He followed the traditional route of switching to single-seater racing. After a year as a Formula 1 test driver (2002), Lotterer drove in both Formula Nippon (now Super Formula) and Super GT in Japan. Lotterer earned three overall victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and won the LMP WEC title once. In 2014, Lotterer made a short foray into Formula 1 as a race driver making starts with Caterham.
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President Porsche Motorsport.
“Signing André for the second Porsche Formula E cockpit is definitely the right choice. He has been a Porsche works driver for three years and knows the team and Neel really well. And we can only benefit from the experience that André will bring from the past two Formula E seasons. Neel and André make the perfect driver pairing for Porsche’s works entry into Formula E. We are looking forward to entering our maiden season in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship for the 2019/2020 season with this strong driver pairing.”
André Lotterer, Driver, Porsche ABB Formula E Championship.
“I’m really looking forward to competing for Porsche in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship in the 2019/2020 season. I have been part of the Porsche family since 2017 and have lots of great memories of joint successes – particularly when working with Neel. We drove together in the Porsche LMP1 Team in 2017 and drove for Rebellion Racing in the WEC these past two years. It’s great that we will now be the driver pairing for the Porsche Formula E Team. I’m looking forward to the new task and to the future collaboration with the team.”
Carlo Wiggers, Director Team Management & Business Relations Porsche Motorsport.
“With Neel and André we have two strong drivers for the Porsche works entry into the ABB FIA Formula E Championship in the 2019/2020 season. Both of them have been part of the Porsche family for several years and bring a wealth of experience with them. Neel has been involved in the Formula E development since the start. Now with André, we also have a driver who has gained valuable experience in the electric race series over the past two Formula E seasons. With Neel and André we have created the ideal conditions for Porsche’s maiden season in Formula E in terms of drivers.”